‘Dissent is Necessary, Listen to Youth’: Irom Sharmila on CAA Stir

Sharmila said that the government was being ‘blind and dictatorial-type’ by not listening to students & youth

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The Quint DAILY

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Irom Sharmila, popularly known as Manipur’s ‘Iron Lady’, made an unexpected visit with her two newborn daughters at an anti-CAA rally in Bengaluru on Sunday, 5 January.

On being asked about her endurance for protests, given her 16-year-long hunger strike for the revocation of the problematic Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), she said, “Protest in society was automatic and compulsory. I never thought of that struggle as burden or punishment, I thought just about keeping my body and mind in balance.”

Speaking to The Quint later, Sharmila commented on the on-going protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and recent violence in JNU and said that the current government was “blind in governance and dictatorial-type”.

“Before it’s too late, respecting the sentiments of the people is best. Just standing at one side and looking to the others is bad. It would be really dangerous, this kind of brutality. I really want them to just not represent any one community or religion with that leadership role. They didn’t have to attach (the Act) to a particular sect or religion, that’s the solution.”
Irom Sharmila

‘Should Listen to Voices of Youth’

Sharmila went on to say that such reactions and dissent were necessary in a democracy.

“This thing, this reaction is necessary in a democratic country. The voices from youth, and student side opinion is more reasonable. We should listen to it,” she said.

She also said that if the relationship between people and the government did not get better, it would only lead to more ‘bloodshedding and violence’.

“This kind of controlling and policing by leadership. What kind of people and govt relationship? More violence and bloodshedding would happen and disintegration into lawlessness,” she said.

“It’s really sad to see, especially the Muslims who have been living here for so long and young ones, who are so well-educated. A sense of depression can set in. Even the minority Tamils of Sri Lanka, who have been rejected by Buddhists in SL and don’t have status here. This is very odd to see.”
Irom Sharmila

‘Unity in Diversity’

“i just want to tell: unity in diversity. The real unity in a multi-cultural and diverse society, that is the real unity. And it must be saved in a democracy. People should have a representative govt, and not just blame game between parties,” she said.

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